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eHam Forums => Software Defined Radio => Topic started by: K0OD on May 14, 2012, 05:31:19 AM



Title: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: K0OD on May 14, 2012, 05:31:19 AM
Quote
Watch the scrolling banner on our home page (www.flexradio.com) daily to
imagine with us.   Find out the whole story May 18th at the Dayton
Hamvention and on our website.

GAME CHANGER AHEAD!

73,
Gerald

Gerald Youngblood, K5SDR
President and CEO
FlexRadio Systems

http://www.flex-radio.com/

Lots of speculation about this "game changer" on various Flex groups.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: K0OD on May 14, 2012, 09:33:00 AM
I imagine Flex sales of radios and peripherals such as VHF/UHF units, internal tuners and 2nd receivers will be about zero until the "Game Changer" is explained Friday. Or is put into full production (assuming it is hardware) which may be far off if the Elecraft KX3 is any guide. OTOH,  a >$5,000 "GC" wouldn't be upsetting to their current line.

Damn, I just paid $5,500 for an ADAT! :)


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 14, 2012, 12:54:38 PM
I imagine Flex sales of radios and peripherals such as VHF/UHF units, internal tuners and 2nd receivers will be about zero until the "Game Changer" is explained Friday. Or is put into full production (assuming it is hardware) which may be far off if the Elecraft KX3 is any guide. OTOH,  a >$5,000 "GC" wouldn't be upsetting to their current line.

Damn, I just paid $5,500 for an ADAT! :)

I'm guessing it is not hardware.  It probably has something to do with the software.  If it is hardware, then it is probably a new rig that uses Ethernet instead of Firewire for communications with the PC.

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N3EVL on May 14, 2012, 02:21:56 PM
The banner thing on the web site says "...imagine...a transceiver..." so I'm guessing new hardware (but then again this is SDR we're talking about so I probably shouldn't discount the "software" part).  The web site appears to have added something today re networking so I'm also guessing the hardware includes Ethernet connectivity.  My WAG is new hardware embracing DDC/DUC with Ethernet - but then again, I've been wrong before (as the XYL occasionally reminds me).

I forget how long the 5000 has been around - I know I got my SDR-1000 back in 2006 and, IIRC, it was a year or so after that that the 5000 became available.  I guess Friday will reveal all.

Pete, N3EVL


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: NI0Z on May 14, 2012, 04:41:02 PM
How about a true SDR with knobs, Ethernet and USB... Don't knock it till you try it, I added,knobs to my flex and love it as it beats a mouse in many cases.  Such a box gives you the best of worlds with all the high speed visual elements and filters the SDR can provide but the ease of use and intuitive interface of a traditional rig. 

This would be a big stretch though for Flex as they would really have to get out of their comfort element, so I am going to say that it might be a Significantly better performing SDR with Ethernet or USb, VHF/UHF and some cool software options.  May they are collaborating now with WoodBoxRadio radio.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: W8JX on May 14, 2012, 09:25:16 PM
If it is hardware, then it is probably a new rig that uses Ethernet instead of Firewire for communications with the PC.

That would be my guess. Firewire has been dead for a while, of course serial ports have been too. We hams keep that old outdated technology around forever.


It would be USB 2 or 3 not Ethernet. This is far more "flexible" than Ethernet (no pun meant)


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 15, 2012, 03:32:45 AM
If it is hardware, then it is probably a new rig that uses Ethernet instead of Firewire for communications with the PC.

That would be my guess. Firewire has been dead for a while, of course serial ports have been too. We hams keep that old outdated technology around forever.


It would be USB 2 or 3 not Ethernet. This is far more "flexible" than Ethernet (no pun meant)

Nope, not in Flex's case.  Flex "engineers" have so badmouthed USB 2 in the past to justify their choice of Firewire, they have painted themselves firmly into the anti-USB corner.  If there is a new PC interface to the Flex radios it will be Ethernet.  Mark my words on this.

Besides, USB 3 is only just showing up now on new systems.  Flex is not going to release a USB 3 interface for their radios and potentially cut themselves off from over half of its customer base that has older systems.

Same thing with knobs.  

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: W8JX on May 15, 2012, 05:01:27 AM
A lot of system did not have Fire-wire on them either and had to be added. Firewire is dead because of USB2 and now USB3.  They would be VERY foolish to ignore this.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 15, 2012, 05:21:13 AM
The newest blub says "Imagine digital starting at the antenna connector..."

So I am now betting it will be a direct sampling transceiver with Ethernet connectivity to the PC.

Gene



Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 15, 2012, 05:23:01 AM
A lot of system did not have Fire-wire on them either and had to be added. Firewire is dead because of USB2 and now USB3.  They would be VERY foolish to ignore this.

Yes, but Firewire existed long before they released the Flex-5000.  USB 3 is relatively new.  It will be Ethernet... just watch...

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 15, 2012, 12:26:49 PM
Here's another prediction.  Tomorrow Gerald will post:

"Imagine a transceiver that makes your Flex-5000a OBSOLETE..."
  ;D

Get ready to see a bunch of used 5000 and 3000 radios hit the market.  You'd better unload it before it is too late!

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N8FNR on May 15, 2012, 12:53:42 PM
All of you Kenwood owners better sell all of your rigs! The new TS-990 makes it obsolete! And you know it is better that any Flex rig could ever be because it has 148 buttons and knobs. If it had 150 I would buy one. Now that would make it a Real Radio TM. I bet that everthing that Kenwood has ever sold will be going to firesale prices on Craigslist before the weekend is out. But then who is going to buy them since everyone will be ordering a TS-990?
http://dx-world.net/2012/new-kenwood-ts-990/

Zack
N8FNR


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: K0OD on May 15, 2012, 01:02:30 PM
Why don't we start a specific thread where the usual Flex bashers can parrot this nonsense. 

K9IUQ:
Quote
"Time to dump your Flex 5K before the rush. It will not be worth much next year at this time.

K9IUQ:
Quote
Get rid of all your firewire stuff boys, the bottom is about to fall out. If Flexradio goes Ethernet, Flex 5K's are going to be bloating the market for cheap.. Sell now before the rush.

KE5JPP:
Quote
Get ready to see a bunch of used 5000 and 3000 radios hit the market.  You'd better unload it before it is too late!

Where are all the SDR makers that were supposed to bury Flex a year or two ago?


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 15, 2012, 01:14:24 PM

KE5JPP:
Quote
Get ready to see a bunch of used 5000 and 3000 radios hit the market.  You'd better unload it before it is too late!

Where are all the SDR makers that were supposed to bury Flex a year or two ago?


If you are directing the question towards me, I never said anything about other SDR manufacturers burying Flex.   You must see "Flex bashers" around every corner!

I am hoping that Flex comes out with an Ethernet interface DDC transceiver and I wish them much success with it.   Hopefully it will be much better than the 5000.

Gene



Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 15, 2012, 01:16:05 PM
All of you Kenwood owners better sell all of your rigs! The new TS-990 makes it obsolete! And you know it is better that any Flex rig could ever be because it has 148 buttons and knobs. If it had 150 I would buy one. Now that would make it a Real Radio TM. I bet that everthing that Kenwood has ever sold will be going to firesale prices on Craigslist before the weekend is out. But then who is going to buy them since everyone will be ordering a TS-990?
http://dx-world.net/2012/new-kenwood-ts-990/

Zack
N8FNR

That Kenwood sure is pretty though!

I remember when Flex announced the Flex-5000a.  Immediately Flex SDR-1000s started showing up in droves on the used market.  No reason to think it won't happen again.

In fact, the smart guys offloaded them pretty quickly because Flex slowly fazed out support for the SDR-1000 from its software.  You can't even run a SDR-1000 on Windows 7 64 now.  If history is any teacher, guys should offload their 5000, 3000, and 1500 models before Flex starts fazing out support for them in future software just like they did with the SDR-1000.

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N8FNR on May 15, 2012, 01:22:14 PM

KE5JPP:
Quote
Get ready to see a bunch of used 5000 and 3000 radios hit the market.  You'd better unload it before it is too late!

Where are all the SDR makers that were supposed to bury Flex a year or two ago?


If you are directing the question towards me, I never said anything about other SDR manufacturers burying Flex.   You must see "Flex bashers" around every corner!

I am hoping that Flex comes out with an Ethernet interface DDC transceiver and I wish them much success with it.   Hopefully it will be much better than the 5000.

Gene



I sure hope that it is better than the 5000. After all the 5000 only has the 4th best receiver in any ham rig. That is pretty pitiful if you ask me. The 3000 is number 8 and the 1500 is 11th. Why can't the make a better receiver?
http://www.sherweng.com/table.html

Zack
N8FNR


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N3EVL on May 15, 2012, 01:49:23 PM



In fact, the smart guys offloaded them pretty quickly because Flex slowly fazed out support for the SDR-1000 from its software.  You can't even run a SDR-1000 on Windows 7 64 now.  If history is any teacher, guys should offload their 5000, 3000, and 1500 models before Flex starts fazing out support for them in future software just like they did with the SDR-1000.

Gene

While there are some limitations on what the SDR-1000 can do since it obviously doesn't have all the hardware capabilities of the later models, I'd hardly say Flex fazed out support.  I run the latest PowerSDR (or close to latest) on my SDR-1000 and do benefit from many of the more recent features such as the Tracking Notch Filter.  I think you're correct about Win7 support but in my case I still have XP and no incentive to go to Win7 currently.  When such time comes I can likely run the SDR-1000 via hpsdr janus and ozy over USB and avoid any issues due to lack of parallel port driver support, although this obviously isn't an option for everyone - I just happen to have janus and ozy sitting around.  In general, I think Flex did a pretty good job of maintaining support for the SDR-1000 over the last few years considering the differences in hardware.

Pete


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N9RO on May 15, 2012, 03:11:35 PM
Unfortunately, no matter how nice the  rig appears the Flex record on delivery is not good.  They announce it May 18, 2012 with some close delivery date but the REAL availability of a reasonable working unit may be some time in 2014?  The 3000 and 5000 may have a good year or two of life, but I agree once this new generation  is announced this week the 3000 and 5000 are dead devices like the Firewire they use, old Flex radios become paper weights just like old PCs.  I know I will take a hit but will probably keep my 3000 and 5000 until  all the smoke clears on the new SDR.    This new design may also provide Gerald the opportunity to follow up on his commitment to begin charging for software?  If I remember correctly his quote on the Flex reflector was "no free beer".   I believe the Flex market has now been defined, it is a expensive experimenters radio for those who enjoy playing with technology more than operating (a techie radio), and definitely not for those who insist their radios exhibit stability, reliability and longevity.  I will be purchasing the new SDR and accept the fact that my 3000 and 5000 may be placed in the heap with my home brew 4040, Kim-1, and other computer related devices with their short life span.  Interesting, a old Collins S-Line I sold a many years ago I think is still on the air and worth more $$ than ever before.  Don't insult me by calling me a Flex Cheerleader I am NOT, I just enjoy writing radio software and SDR's provide a good platform for that.  If you do not like to throw away your radio's stay away from any SDR!

Tim, N9RO


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 15, 2012, 03:40:12 PM

I sure hope that it is better than the 5000. After all the 5000 only has the 4th best receiver in any ham rig. That is pretty pitiful if you ask me. The 3000 is number 8 and the 1500 is 11th. Why can't the make a better receiver?
http://www.sherweng.com/table.html

Zack
N8FNR

This is what I posted in the Station Building Forum and it applies here as well:

Be careful not to fall into the specsmanship game by chasing after the Sherwood receiver test numbers.  A few decibels here or there is not going to be noticed by your ears.  The only place you may notice it is with very expensive test equipment as long as the testing is done correctly and in a way that is repeatable.  They are non-real world tests. They are lab numbers under tightly controlled circumstances.  Just realize that these tests are a poor substitute for performance comparison in the real world. 

As far as the real world goes, a receiver can have extremely good numbers on the Sherwood tests but have the ergonomics of an old smelly pig.  You would not want to live with it every day no matter how high it rates.   Forget the specmanship and actually try out some radios to see if you can live with them from day to day.


Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 15, 2012, 03:45:51 PM

Also, You can not equate the used price of Knobbed (Kenwood) Radios with SDR radios like Flex. Even a very old Kenwood TS-440s has more value than a Flex SDR 1000. Old SDR technology is as worthless as yesterdays computer. 20 years from now my TS-590s will have 5 times the value of a Flex 5K. And that is the truth.

Stan K9IUQ

Stan, this is exactly the truth!  It is ridiculous when guys try to compare a black box computer dependent Flex-5000 to a knobbed radio like the Kenwood as far as value in the long term.  In 10 years time Firewire will be a distant memory and there will be a bunch of valueless Flex 5000 and 3000 rigs sitting in guys basements, garages, and closets.

Take our advice... SELL NOW!

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: ZENKI on May 16, 2012, 03:51:45 AM
Well if its a radio with knobs and::::::

TFT screen
Direct sampling receiver
DUC transmitter
200 watts of low IMD output
High voltage FET PA with in built power supply
Adaptive predistortion PA
Built in ethernet remote
Removable front panel for remote
Calibrated S-meter
Ability to monitor your TX signal or use the RX as a spectrum analyzer or VNA

These features will give the Flex a edge over the competition, anything else will just be a me too radio. Besides the hams who like the concept of a PC controlled radio will  look at all the other cheaper alternatives on the market, alternatives like the Open HPSDR Hermes etc

I would buy 2, however I seriously doubt that Flexradio has the engineering expertise to deliver such a radio. If Flex produced something close to the ADAT with 100 or 200 watts all the hams  who like real radios with knobs might buy it.  I suspect it will juts be a Ethernet controlled direct sampling SDR receiver with a DUC transmitter thats controlled via Ethernet. Basically something similar to the HPSDR Hermes, it will still be a PC driven radio.

The past rejection by the ham radio market place of PC driven radios should be marketing lesson for Flexradio. The majority of the market place wants a boxed  radio with knobs. I seriously doubt that Flexradio has any interest
in producing any radio with a front panel and knobs. They will always be a minority player for this very reason.

As for the TS990S its going to be a runaway success if the rumor about its price is right, its going to be  a category killer. Besides who is going to be silly enough to pay double the price for a IC7800 or FTDX9000, or worst still the ultra expensive Hilberling PT8000. You  would have rocks in your  head to ignore the TS990S. If the radio has a receiver  like the FTDX9000 the market will reject it. The days of playing hams for suckers is long over!.

Good luck to the Flexradio people, I hope they can truly release something that is actually better  than  competition. I hope its just not a bunch of hyperbola  and marketing BS. This years Daytons looks like its going
to be a interesting year for new products.  Maybe Elecraft will surprise everyone and announce the K4 they have been working on it for a while now, they must have some idea of  what the radio is going to be.






All of you Kenwood owners better sell all of your rigs! The new TS-990 makes it obsolete! And you know it is better that any Flex rig could ever be because it has 148 buttons and knobs. If it had 150 I would buy one. Now that would make it a Real Radio TM. I bet that everthing that Kenwood has ever sold will be going to firesale prices on Craigslist before the weekend is out. But then who is going to buy them since everyone will be ordering a TS-990?
http://dx-world.net/2012/new-kenwood-ts-990/

Zack
N8FNR


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N9RO on May 16, 2012, 07:22:05 AM
Quote
Say this on a Flex Reflector and you will run the risk of being banned.

I once made a less than positive statement of what appeared to be obvious on the Flex reflector and was called names.   

Tim,  N9RO


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 16, 2012, 08:03:34 AM
 I believe the Flex market has now been defined, it is a expensive experimenters radio for those who enjoy playing with technology more than operating (a techie radio), and definitely not for those who insist their radios exhibit stability, reliability and longevity. 
Tim, N9RO

Its funny that most of the Flex-fans take this as some kind of insult.  I do not believe it is.   It is just a truthful statement of the situation.  I purchase a lot of stuff that would be considered for the experimenter that requires endless tinkering and coercing to get set up correctly.  I purchase this equipment knowing full well what I am getting into.   This is a warning to those who think Flex radios are plug and play transceivers.   If you don't enjoy experimenting and tinkering, then stay away from the Flex.

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: K0OD on May 17, 2012, 06:36:31 AM
Here's the full list of clues from Flex:

Imagine a transceiver that changes ham radio forever.
Imagine networking as forethought not afterthought
Imagine complex things made simple.
Imagine digital starting at the antenna connector.
Imagine signal processing limited only by your dreams.
Imagine dynamic range so high...

---
Just a thought...

A shortcoming of Flex is its inability to hear much of anything on LW. It would be neat to have a really hot receiver for the new 600 meter band and <<<perhaps>>> some limited transmitting capability there.... a first for any transceiver.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: NI0Z on May 17, 2012, 08:57:15 PM
Maybe it's a box you can put as close as the antenna if you want, built in wireless router so you can access it without even cables.  You use your PC for the microphone if you want.  If you place it in the shack you can still hook up your amp and everything else like a regular flex.  The point is, you won't need a wire going to your PC.  Bet it has a built in ATU as well.  First offering probably more like a flex 3k but better dynamic range, ect.  This way it's always on because it's a network appliance and so if you want you can access it anywhere.  Think of SDR Radio as the model for the software interface.

I think it's that simple.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: ZENKI on May 18, 2012, 01:22:01 AM
All interesting the Flexradio 6000 brochure and details are on their web page. A step in the right directing.

I am disappointed that they are using a stone age PA 13.8 volts DC RD100HHF1 devices, and as usual no IMD specifications. Generally when no IMD specs are given and the devices are 13 volt devices  the IMD performance is marginal.
A real shame. Opportunity squandered  by Flexradio to build a first class transmitter.  WIth all that processing power  you would have thought that adaptive pre-distortion with decent RF fets could have been squeezed into the Flex6000.

The receiver in the Flex 6000 is a game changer, however the transmitter is a disappointment.


Maybe it's a box you can put as close as the antenna if you want, built in wireless router so you can access it without even cables.  You use your PC for the microphone if you want.  If you place it in the shack you can still hook up your amp and everything else like a regular flex.  The point is, you won't need a wire going to your PC.  Bet it has a built in ATU as well.  First offering probably more like a flex 3k but better dynamic range, ect.  This way it's always on because it's a network appliance and so if you want you can access it anywhere.  Think of SDR Radio as the model for the software interface.

I think it's that simple.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: W4ZV on May 18, 2012, 03:02:23 AM
Questions for someone at Flex's Dayton booth:

"Except for the most demanding large signal conditions, Slice
Receivers are free to operate in wide-band mode without the need
for RF pre-selection filters."


1.  What does "most demanding" mean?

"Further, the
dual Spectral Capture Units can be optimally combined on the
FLEX-6700 and FLEX-6700R to increase Blocking Dynamic Range
up to 3 dB and IMD DR3 up to 2 dB."


2.  Increase BDR 3 dB better than what?


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 18, 2012, 03:34:25 AM
Now all you have to do is wait 2-4 years for Flex to get all the bugs worked out and then you'll have a nice SDR (except for the crappy CB type MOSFET PA).

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 18, 2012, 03:48:25 AM
The newest blub says "Imagine digital starting at the antenna connector..."

So I am now betting it will be a direct sampling transceiver with Ethernet connectivity to the PC.

Gene



Quote
Yes, but Firewire existed long before they released the Flex-5000.  USB 3 is relatively new.  It will be Ethernet... just watch...

Gene

Direct Sampling - Check!
Ethernet - Check!

The DSP is done with a TI DSP.  I imagine the software will be for the GUI and control of the radio.  Smart move.  All closed source, of course.  Still no knobs... Expensive... But so is a IC-7600/7700/7800 or the top of the line Yaesu (and the TS-990 Kenwood)...

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 18, 2012, 03:53:06 AM
I'm guessing it is not hardware.  

Noooooooooooooooo  Check.  :D

Stan K9IUQ

Yeah, but later I said "The newest blub says "Imagine digital starting at the antenna connector..."  So I am now betting it will be a direct sampling transceiver with Ethernet connectivity to the PC."  Double Check!  ;D  I could only go by Flex's daily hints.

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N9RO on May 18, 2012, 04:55:41 AM
Gerald kept good to his no free beer commitment.  Notice we now have to pay a $199 yearly extortion fee (I am sure this will be going up) per year for software updates and support.  Software fixes/updates will be coming fast now to keep you paying the yearly fee.  I know good software is not free but not sure if paying yearly fee rather than paying for major updates is the customer friendly way?  However, it does include support so I guess you now can call Dudly and ask a question as long as you paid your money?  Flex radios are now not only Software Define but  shakedown radios. 


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: NI0Z on May 18, 2012, 05:03:10 AM
Game Changer means more to fiddle with as far as I can tell right now.  Not so,excited about this announcement and am glad I am sinking my dollars this year into a better antenna system.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: ZENKI on May 18, 2012, 05:05:17 AM
I wonder if the 8  receivers can phase locked to the GPSDO  and be used for  beam steering, single site location DF or correlative interferometer use.

The rumored  price is well over $6K, for this price you would think they could throw in a inbuilt power supply and decent high voltage RF Fets.

What I like is the 3 TX connectors for relay control, this would make high speed QSK easy to implement on homebrew amplifiers.

Rack mounting sizing is a  great idea. Flex could then easily offer a external power supply and a external adaptive predistortion 200 watt PA. Top end radios should be 200 watts of output like the new Kenwood.
With rack mounting the options could really be endless. However Flexradio should have followed the overall architecture and  physical options of the R&S M3SR Series 4100 Software Defined Radios.

Its a shame remote panel is not available for the unit  and likewise a plug in external VFO pod.

The cheap and lousy Anderson power poles are cheap overrated connectors that causes a lot of trouble. A Molex connector would have been a better option.

DUC direct sampling is  progressive and forward thinking, Flex deserves a medal for adopting this technology. They would have  been forced to go this way, everyone knew this except the Flex radio groupies and fanboys.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 18, 2012, 05:10:46 AM
Gerald kept good to his no free beer commitment.  Notice we now have to pay a $199 yearly extortion fee (I am sure this will be going up) per year for software updates and support.  Software fixes/updates will be coming fast now to keep you paying the yearly fee.  I know good software is not free but not sure if paying yearly fee rather than paying for major updates is the customer friendly way?  However, it does include support so I guess you now can call Dudly and ask a question as long as you paid your money?  Flex radios are now not only Software Define but  shakedown radios. 

Seeing how most of the CPU intensive DSP is offloaded to the TI DSP, software wise you'd be paying for updates to the GUI.  Maybe that fee figures into updates to the radio's firmware also.  Given Flex's track record, I would be quite pissed if I had to pay for a software upgrade to fix bugs that should be fixed for free.

The yearly software fee of $200 SUCKS!  I could see maybe $75 or something in that neighborhood, but not $200.  Since they are charging $200 per year, I am betting that they will not publish the protocol and commands used for the software GUI to communicate with the radio to discourage third party developers.

These new radios will outperform anything else on the Ham market including the K3, and the FTdx-5000D.  Too bad the ADAT was not marketed better.  It would have had multiple year advantage in the Ham market.   With the lowest cost Flex rig selling for $4000, I think the ADAT's price must come down if they want to ever be competitive.

Gone are the days of Flex Radio being a "SDR for the masses".

Gene



Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 18, 2012, 05:15:01 AM
Flex Ambassador Brian is already selling his Flex-5000a on the Flex mailing list.  Since the lowest price new transceiver from Flex is priced at $4000, it will be hard to justify buying an old, outdated technology Flex-5000a.  There will be a bunch of them on the used market as I predicted.

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 18, 2012, 05:17:11 AM
Gerald kept good to his no free beer commitment.  Notice we now have to pay a $199 yearly extortion fee (I am sure this will be going up) per year for software updates and support.  Software fixes/updates will be coming fast now to keep you paying the yearly fee.  I know good software is not free but not sure if paying yearly fee rather than paying for major updates is the customer friendly way?  However, it does include support so I guess you now can call Dudly and ask a question as long as you paid your money?  Flex radios are now not only Software Define but  shakedown radios. 

Flex SDR = Shake Down Radios   ;D ;D ;D  Now, that's funny!

Gene



Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 18, 2012, 05:23:53 AM
I wonder if the 8  receivers can phase locked to the GPSDO  and be used for  beam steering, single site location DF or correlative interferometer use.

No, because it does not have 8 separate ADCs or 8 separate antenna inputs.  I believe they are probably talking about 8 receivers within the 70 MHz (or so) ADC's bandwidth (all coming from a single antenna input).

They do talk about dual ADCs, so I imagine that you will be able to do limited diversity or beam steering via two separate antenna inputs.

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 18, 2012, 06:13:28 AM
Flex Ambassador Brian is already selling his Flex-5000a on the Flex mailing list.  Since the lowest price new transceiver from Flex is priced at $4000, it will be hard to justify buying an old, outdated technology Flex-5000a.  There will be a bunch of them on the used market as I predicted.

Gene


Brian is many things but stupid is not one of them. He is very smart to beat the rush of massive Flexradio 5K sell offs. PSDR is dead, Flexradio is no longer going to develop software that they can not get $$$$ for. In a few years the Flex 5K will just be a bad memory. Flexradio was right. It is a Game Changer for present 5K owners.

K9IUQ

Yeah, but he is selling his 5000a to buy one of the new 6000 series radios.  I guess he has no problem with the $200 yearly Software Extortion Fee from Flex.  He definitely is not stupid, but I don't think jumping on the 6000 series bandwagon at least 6 months before they become available is very smart.

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: HAMMYGUY on May 18, 2012, 11:22:54 AM
While I don't feel to bad about dropping $1 to $1000 for a radio that I'm really going to use, once the price gets above the $1500 range my squeak factor begins to kick in.   I think Flex is going to find out that the market for this "game changer" is going to be very limited.  There will certainly be a rush by the herd for this new radio, probably even enough to justify the initial production run, but not enough to sustain it.  

It's quite apparent Firewire is dead and the current Flex series will die off pretty quickly.  All except for the 1500 which is a pretty good radio for the money and will work with USB 1.1 or higher.  The next rig will probably be a replacement for the Flex-3000 with the new interface, but will require the $200 software fee per year to keep current.  Which of course will open the door to piracy to avoid the fees.  

I think they've stabbed themselves in the chest with this "game changer" and the market will just twist the blade until the company finally collapses from lack of sales.  


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 18, 2012, 11:44:00 AM
While I don't feel to bad about dropping $1 to $1000 for a radio that I'm really going to use, once the price gets above the $1500 range my squeak factor begins to kick in.   I think Flex is going to find out that the market for this "game changer" is going to be very limited.  There will certainly be a rush by the herd for this new radio, probably even enough to justify the initial production run, but not enough to sustain it.  

It's quite apparent Firewire is dead and the current Flex series will die off pretty quickly.  All except for the 1500 which is a pretty good radio for the money and will work with USB 1.1 or higher.  The next rig will probably be a replacement for the Flex-3000 with the new interface, but will require the $200 software fee per year to keep current.  Which of course will open the door to piracy to avoid the fees.  

I think they've stabbed themselves in the chest with this "game changer" and the market will just twist the blade until the company finally collapses from lack of sales.  

If you look at Flex's history, once the Flex-5000 was introduced as an "upgrade" to the SDR-1000, the SDR-1000 became the red-headed stepchild.  Flex tried to play down the introduction of the 5000 as "the high end" but behind the scenes they quickly moved as far away from the SDR-1000 users as possible.  I expect the same to happen to the 5000 and 3000 users now that the 6000 series is out of the bag.  I think you are right about the 1500.   Since it is USB and priced on the low end, the sales will continue there.  Its the 5000 and 3000 radios and users that have to worry.  All of Flex's development work will be dedicated to the new 6000 series now (the future).

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: WD5GWY on May 18, 2012, 08:33:55 PM
I'm a bit curious about all the bashing and general hate directed towards
Flexradio. I can understand that there are people that their products are
not something they want or can use. I have a Flex 1500 and enjoy using
it and it's features. But, I don't see the new series of radios in my future.
I actually enjoy using my old boatanchor radios more than the 1500.
BUT, I don't hate Flex for trying to introduce new products for Amateur
Radio just because the prices are higher than I can afford or justify.
(well, I can afford one IF I wanted to save for a while for one) They have
a right to make a living as any other company does. If they just sat on
their hands and did nothing, they would surely go away. And having another
manufacturer of ham gear go away would be a sad thing to me.
There will be people that can afford it and that is fine by me.
Oh, someone mentioned that there was already a rush to sell the 5000's by
a lot of people........where?? I have seen a total of 3 ads listing 5000's for sale
on the Flex Yahoo group, qrz.com and qth.com. And one of those listings are
from the same person. Not exactly a huge rush to dump the old gear for the
new. (there was one for a 3000 for $1000 on qrz.com that sold within 15 minutes)
So, I might just grab one of those when they start showing up soon.
IF there was to be a rush to sell the older Flex radios, I would think it would be
after the first batch has been shipped to their new owners and people have had
a chance to use them. Once that happens and new owners start bragging about
all the great features, THEN I would expect to see a rush to sell more of the older
rigs.
  james
WD5GWY


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: ZENKI on May 18, 2012, 11:42:56 PM
I dont really understand whats going on with the ADAT marketing department. If I owned the ADAT company I would be at Dayton. ADAT is obviously not serious  about promoting its product to the wider ham population.
Looks like ADAT will fade and blow away with no real commercial success, which is a darn shame.

Anyone see the new Hilberling, whats so good about the Hilberling that they want so much for it? Any specifications or  performance data  released at Dayton?


Gerald kept good to his no free beer commitment.  Notice we now have to pay a $199 yearly extortion fee (I am sure this will be going up) per year for software updates and support.  Software fixes/updates will be coming fast now to keep you paying the yearly fee.  I know good software is not free but not sure if paying yearly fee rather than paying for major updates is the customer friendly way?  However, it does include support so I guess you now can call Dudly and ask a question as long as you paid your money?  Flex radios are now not only Software Define but  shakedown radios. 

Seeing how most of the CPU intensive DSP is offloaded to the TI DSP, software wise you'd be paying for updates to the GUI.  Maybe that fee figures into updates to the radio's firmware also.  Given Flex's track record, I would be quite pissed if I had to pay for a software upgrade to fix bugs that should be fixed for free.

The yearly software fee of $200 SUCKS!  I could see maybe $75 or something in that neighborhood, but not $200.  Since they are charging $200 per year, I am betting that they will not publish the protocol and commands used for the software GUI to communicate with the radio to discourage third party developers.

These new radios will outperform anything else on the Ham market including the K3, and the FTdx-5000D.  Too bad the ADAT was not marketed better.  It would have had multiple year advantage in the Ham market.   With the lowest cost Flex rig selling for $4000, I think the ADAT's price must come down if they want to ever be competitive.

Gone are the days of Flex Radio being a "SDR for the masses".

Gene




Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 19, 2012, 07:38:30 AM
I'm a bit curious about all the bashing and general hate directed towards
Flexradio.

I guess you see the truth as bashing and hate just like the Flex fanboys do.

Other than the $200 per year Software Extortion Fee, I think that the 6000 series in a very smart and positive move for Flex Radio.  Drop that fee to $100 or less and then I would have no complaints at all.

I am very happy to see that Flex Radio is pushing the envelope in the Ham market.  While there have been quite a few direct sampling receivers available for several years now,  no manufacturer has made a significant dent with a DDC/DUC transceiver for the Ham market.  I suspect that once other big three manufacturers see the extremely high performance of this architecture in the Flex 6000 series, they will be forced to follow suit eventually.  This will be good for all of us by driving costs down and expectations up.  Kudos to Flex for having the balls to do it first!

Gene



Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: WD5GWY on May 19, 2012, 09:04:05 AM
I'm a bit curious about all the bashing and general hate directed towards
Flexradio.

I guess you see the truth as bashing and hate just like the Flex fanboys do.

Other than the $200 per year Software Extortion Fee, I think that the 6000 series in a very smart and positive move for Flex Radio.  Drop that fee to $100 or less and then I would have no complaints at all.

I am very happy to see that Flex Radio is pushing the envelope in the Ham market.  While there have been quite a few direct sampling receivers available for several years now,  no manufacturer has made a significant dent with a DDC/DUC transceiver for the Ham market.  I suspect that once other big three manufacturers see the extremely high performance of this architecture in the Flex 6000 series, they will be forced to follow suit eventually.  This will be good for all of us by driving costs down and expectations up.  Kudos to Flex for having the balls to do it first!

Gene


  Well, if what I have seen posted previously here and a few other places is nothing
more than the "truth" then maybe you are right.  I wouldn't go so far as to call myself
a "fanboy" but, I certainly am impressed with what my little 1500 does. While it is a
fun radio to play with, I still enjoy the old boatanchor radios more.
  Reading the spec's on the new radios almost boggles the mind with what they say they are capable of doing. I do good just to use one receiver at a time, much less eight!
It will be interesting to see how well they do in the real world and not in a lab.
 I plan to go to HAMCOM in Plano, TX in June, maybe I'll get a chance to see one up
close!
james
WD5GWY

Oh, did you notice that on almost all the different forums, little has been said about
the new Kenwood TS-990? The one and only photo of the display at Dayton that I have seen, shows one inside a clear plastic box. Wonder if it's a mockup?
And Alinco is introducing an SDR radio too. Saw a photo of that one running at Dayton!


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: W1EL on May 19, 2012, 01:30:46 PM
Human nature is to view your own opinions and way of looking at the world as "truth".


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: NI0Z on May 19, 2012, 08:27:35 PM
After looking at the brochure and specs these are interesting new radios.  I wish the price were not so high though, however, that said, for the right Ham the radio might be worth it's asking price.

Basically it looks like they have a digital sample of the bandwidth that they can split into 8 views, so saying it has 8 receivers if that's truly the case would seem misleading.  I think the limit of 8 is simply a matter of raw computing power.  What your really probably getting is a meta data graphical view of a slice of bandwidth.  It's clever but not rocket science.  So if you wanted to be monitoring 8 slices and bounce to a signle in any view on the drop of a dime, it's pretty slick.  

What's slick too is the computing requirements for the end user should be much more reasonable.  Why today with my Flex 5K dual receiver and all the junkola I run with it I am chewing up 8 zenon 2.66 cores.

I don't see why though if Flex had a competitor that as far as hardware goes why this couldn't be done cheaper.  What we need is more SDR transceiver competition.

As to the notion about all these comments on obsolescence I think at preset with the current price tag it would be like saying the latest Ferrari makes your VW Jeta obsolete.  What we are really talking about here in my humble opinion is more impact on Flexes competition that would compete in that price range.  IE, if I cant afford a Ferrari I cant afford it and it means little to me that it changed the game, as at that price it cant change my game.  And when we go there we just get back to SDR is not for everyone.

My definition of a game changer is something that the masses can access.  The price tag on this is for a minority.  In terms of price it's no more a game changer than the IC 7800 or FT 9000.

I try to shoot straight about all this stuff.  And SDR's are cool and fun, but I can't help but wonder in terms of pure haming if a rig like a IC 7800, or FT 5000 would discriminate and dig out some signals better head to head.  

So anyone got a place to see more info on the new Kenwood rig, I am curious about it?

I am going to let all the early adopters bleed the edge for me as far as the new offerings go and see if the market doesn't yield a lower price or a second gen offering before I leap.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 20, 2012, 06:02:47 AM
It is funny to see that the Elecraft Fanboys are already trying to trash the Flex 6000 and direct sampling receivers on the Elecraft list.  Their ignorance of, and arguments against, direct sampling receivers is even more hilarious.   Good that Flex is making the Elecraft boys sweat a little.  Competition is good for us users.

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: WD5GWY on May 20, 2012, 03:46:20 PM
Well, Flex reps on the Yahoo group say they are not abandoning
the 1500, 3000 or the 5000 radios. And will continue to support
them and PowerSDR. They consider those radios their lower end
market radios now. For how long, who knows?
  I asked about them offering a 6000 Series radio that is equal or
somewhere near the price range of the 1500, with fewer options
and features, and they said it was unlikely to happen as the parts
even for a basic 6000 radio exceeded the cost of the 1500.
That is understandable to me. But, I was hoping for something in
the $1000 range that had some of the abilities of the 6500.
Not a deal breaker for me either way. I like my 1500 just fine.
But, my old radios are more fun to use. I still like knobs and
tubes that glow in the dark!
  Also, each of the big 3 have high end radios that cost more than
the 6000 Series.  $10,000 and up! The highest priced 6000 series
is $7000. Not chump change (well not for me) but, much cheaper
than the competition's high end radios. It will be interesting to see
how they do in the real world and to actually work one.
james
WD5GWY



Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 20, 2012, 06:00:26 PM
Well, Flex reps on the Yahoo group say they are not abandoning
the 1500, 3000 or the 5000 radios. And will continue to support
them and PowerSDR. They consider those radios their lower end
market radios now. For how long, who knows?
  I asked about them offering a 6000 Series radio that is equal or
somewhere near the price range of the 1500, with fewer options
and features, and they said it was unlikely to happen as the parts
even for a basic 6000 radio exceeded the cost of the 1500.
That is understandable to me. But, I was hoping for something in
the $1000 range that had some of the abilities of the 6500.
Not a deal breaker for me either way. I like my 1500 just fine.
But, my old radios are more fun to use. I still like knobs and
tubes that glow in the dark!
  Also, each of the big 3 have high end radios that cost more than
the 6000 Series.  $10,000 and up! The highest priced 6000 series
is $7000. Not chump change (well not for me) but, much cheaper
than the competition's high end radios. It will be interesting to see
how they do in the real world and to actually work one.
james
WD5GWY



A new Yahoo group just popped up dedicated to the Flex 6000 series radios.  In the description is says its a place to "openly" and "freely" discuss the new radio.  It also says it is unmoderated.  I wonder how long it will stay that way?

Here's the link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/flexradio6000series/ (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/flexradio6000series/)

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: NI0Z on May 20, 2012, 07:36:18 PM
Just keep in mind that on some of those transceivers you get a real second receiver you can plug into a second antenna.  I am already finding that having a horizontal beam and a vertical dipole has benefits when seeking DX's.  It's really sweet to be able to here both at the same time!


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N3HFS on May 21, 2012, 04:28:56 AM
Hams are notoriously cheap. The majority of hams want nothing to do with a computer controlling a SDR. They want and buy knobbed radios.They also hold onto radios and computers forever, this limits the SDR market even more.

I am reminded of Icom's PCR-series receivers.

No, they aren't PCRs, but they have proprietary interfaces (which were eventually reverse-engineered?) and relied on software and RS-232 for control. 

And no knobs.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 22, 2012, 07:04:31 AM

Flexradio is going to have a very difficult time marketing a $4-7K SDR and a $200 a year software fee to hams. It may be their downfall. They are taking a huge gamble. Something the BIg 3 would never do.

Stan K9IUQ


I don't know about that.  According to some unofficial reports, Flex took HUNDREDs of pre-orders at Dayton for their Flex-6000 series radios.  That is at least 6 months before they even start shipping.

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: NI0Z on May 22, 2012, 07:48:44 AM
Digging in further, seeing videos from Dayton, ect.  It really is a cool radio.  The 6700 does have a second Real Reciever, I was mistaken there.  The SDR crowd will end up buying more of these than people think and the cost will be rationalized, financed, ect. 

And G Wiz Wally, you get the jacket if you order now!  :)

Seriously, it's some pretty cool stuff, which it should be at these prices.  If you look at the other traditional offerings from big 3 and their prices tags it's not so bad.  I think I saw last night in a video that the new Yaesu DX FT 30000 will run between $5000 and $10,000 ( interesting that they quote such a large range, guessing closer to 10k than 5k).  Guessing the Kenwood won't be cheap either.

Interestingly the Russian SunSDR has interesting specs, but it's still a sound card Reciever.   The funny thing about most of these radios is that you end up paying a ton for the receiver portion of all these radios and the transmit sides seemingly look really light on specs.  The poor man could easily couple a second SDR Reciever with their lower end HF Rig and have a comperable makeshift solution.  Even more interesting is that they may even have fewer issues than the full blown SDR rigs have.  These next gen SDRs in particular with Ethernet and wireless access and thin clients on the computer will make that even more true with regards to battling RF.

But, of course, you won't get the limited edition signed box and jacket going that route!


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: NI0Z on May 22, 2012, 09:33:19 AM
They probably already have made a million bucks or more in preorders but they probably have sunk some serious dollars in product and software development as well.  One of the videos I just watched had a developer saying the software displayed at Dayton was a mock up.  My guess is that they will have some delays finishing that portion of the development.  I look for a q1 2013 release rather than late this year.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: ZENKI on May 24, 2012, 02:44:33 PM
Looking at the current market pricing.

SDR Receiver $1000 dollars (Winradio G31)
SDR Transmitter $1000 dollars(Fleapower)
MRF150 PA 600 watts $600 with filters(homebrew kit)
50 volt power supply switch mode $300 dollars (Taiwan)
 
Thats 2900 dollars if Joe ham did it with off the shelf hardware.
You could build a fantastic panel with ARM processor and TF screen for $1000 dollars.

That brings our super off the Shelf SDR radio to 3900 dollars,  ADAT Charges $5000 dollars.

If the manufacturer built everything himself, the real manufactured cost for the above  would be about 1200 dollars.

There is no reason why we cant have a  sub 3000 dollar SDR transceiver. The above if integrated very would l outperform all the current high end 10K radios in both RX and TX performance.

SDR radios are really about the businessmen not wanting to change the business model. When they finally make the change and wake up, the opportunity will be lost to other smaller manufacturers like ADAT, Chinese or the Russians.

Kenwood had the opportunity with the TS990S, however they have decided to stick with horse and cart technology.

The SDR crowd will end up buying more of these than people think and the cost will be rationalized, financed, ect. 

No doubt. The problem of course is the "SDR crowd" is very small compared to the whole ham radio population. I know dozens of hams where I live. Not one owns or has owned a SDR. Except me...

Since knobbed radios dominate the ham market, I would guess that my area is not unusual..

I also do not know any ham in my area that has a radio that costs more than $4K. The majority of them have $1-2K radios

Stan K9IUQ




Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KA4KOE on May 30, 2012, 09:41:21 AM
I like my 5K. I also like my Plessey UK/RT320. I like them for different reasons. However, the pricing of the new Flex, plus the exorbitant software licensing fees, means that my 5K will the last SDR I own, unless someone else comes up with a better box. I don't like SDR THAT much; not for 4-6K.

I keep waiting for Quicksilver to market their exciter. Where is it?

Philip
KA4KOE


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on May 30, 2012, 10:04:00 AM

I keep waiting for Quicksilver to market their exciter. Where is it?

Philip
KA4KOE

Here: http://qs1r.wikispaces.com/QS1E+Exciter (http://qs1r.wikispaces.com/QS1E+Exciter)

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: HAMMYGUY on June 03, 2012, 09:36:24 AM
I was able to get a look at this "game changer" at the Seaside Oregon hamfest.  Seems to be a well built box with some circuit boards stuffed inside.  The software running was showing two very small panadapters and nothing else.  However the display with the Flex5000A running PowerSDR was VERY impressive and well presented.  Most people were looking at the 5000A. 


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: WD5GWY on June 03, 2012, 10:11:32 AM
I was able to get a look at this "game changer" at the Seaside Oregon hamfest.  Seems to be a well built box with some circuit boards stuffed inside.  The software running was showing two very small panadapters and nothing else.  However the display with the Flex5000A running PowerSDR was VERY impressive and well presented.  Most people were looking at the 5000A. 
I guess they still have not got a working version of SmartSDR (the new software for
the 6000 Series) ready to show yet. Bummer, I was hoping that they would have
something to show by the time they get to HAMCOM in Plano, TX this coming Saturday.
 It sounds as though they won't. Too bad, I know a couple of guys that might pre-order
one if they could see an actual demo instead of mockup software running. Won't be me
though. I have just about decided that there is no advantage for me, to sink 4K - 7K
in an SDR radio. But, then again, who knows? I might win the lottery!
Then, I'll buy two!
james
WD5GWY


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N8FNR on June 03, 2012, 06:13:59 PM
Yeah, yeah, Flex makes the WORST radios in history according to you. In fact I bet that from your point of view that Flex makes MFJ look like mil-spec.

I know that I have been glad to learn the One Great Truth that you posess. Perhaps you could give seminars at TED next year and share your revelations with the world at large?

After reading your missives I have sold my Flex-5000 and replaced it with a Sugiyama F850 rated 1.3 on eham http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/3633.  Are you happy now? Or does everyone need to sell all of their Flex rigs then you will shut up?

It would be nice if this forum could actually be about SDRs including Flex rather than being a forum for your personal vendetta.

Why not just move on with your life? It seems as if that this is all you live for.

Geez, either go back on your meds or resume your electroshock treatments please!

Zack
N8FNR


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N9RO on June 03, 2012, 08:42:02 PM
Quote
Geez, either go back on your meds or resume your electroshock treatments please!

Zack
N8FNR

Making fun of those less fortunate does not win you any friends.  KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!

Tim - N9RO


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: WD5GWY on June 04, 2012, 04:51:56 PM
Yeah, yeah, Flex makes the WORST radios in history according to you. In fact I bet that from your point of view that Flex makes MFJ look like mil-spec.

I know that I have been glad to learn the One Great Truth that you posess. Perhaps you could give seminars at TED next year and share your revelations with the world at large?

After reading your missives I have sold my Flex-5000 and replaced it with a Sugiyama F850 rated 1.3 on eham http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/3633.  Are you happy now? Or does everyone need to sell all of their Flex rigs then you will shut up?

It would be nice if this forum could actually be about SDRs including Flex rather than being a forum for your personal vendetta.

Why not just move on with your life? It seems as if that this is all you live for.

Geez, either go back on your meds or resume your electroshock treatments please!

Zack
N8FNR


Hmmmm, was this directed at me? :o
I don't think I've trashed Flex like that at all. In fact, some here think
I am Flex Fanboy. I'm not, but, I do like the radios and what they do.
There are some here that do have something against Flex (the company)
and from reading their past experiences, I can see why they feel the way
they do. If you want a rah rah Flex forum, try one of their Yahoo groups.
I too get tired of some of the things here, but, at the same time, these people
do have a legitimate complaint. And if certain people's posts bother you, you
can always IGNORE them. There are still a lot of useful info that shows up here
concerning SDR radios. You just have to sift thru some stuff to get to the meat
sometimes!!
james
WD5GWY


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N0YXB on June 05, 2012, 01:30:53 PM
I agree about the "rah rah forum" suggestion.  Although I don't own an SDR yet, I have learned a lot here and would hate to see discussion curtailed because of brand loyalty (or disloyalty).   :)   We should be able to discuss the good and the bad aspects of SDRs without it becoming too personal.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: K9IUQ on June 05, 2012, 03:59:42 PM
 We should be able to discuss the good and the bad aspects of SDRs without it becoming too personal.

The problem of course is the Flexers do take it personal.

I don't understand it myself. Flexradio are just radios. Personally I like to hear opinions that differ than mine. Many times I learn something. When someone does not agee with me, that is fine I do not take it personally - until hams start calling me names, especially profane names like was done last week before the SDR forum got locked down.

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: WD5GWY on June 05, 2012, 05:21:54 PM


The problem of course is the Flexers do take it personal.

I don't understand it myself. Flexradio are just radios. Personally I like to hear opinions that differ than mine. Many times I learn something. When someone does not agee with me, that is fine I do not take it personally - until hams start calling me names, especially profane names like was done last week before the SDR forum got locked down.

Stan K9IUQ
Yep, it's just another radio to use in the pursuit of the Amateur Radio hobby. Some like it and others don't. And luckily, there are a lot of alternatives as far as transceivers are concerned. That, to me, makes it fun.
   I think the name calling is simply childish and uncalled for. It's time for some folks to grow up and get a real life. It's a HOBBY not a lifestyle!!
  I for one, value your opinions Stan and am glad you have posted your experiences here. It is appreciated.
james
WD5GWY
 


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: K9IUQ on June 05, 2012, 06:00:28 PM
I for one, value your opinions Stan and am glad you have posted your experiences here. It is appreciated.
james
WD5GWY
 

Few Flexradio owners have said that publicly. However I have more than a dozen private emails saying the same thing you just did. Many have thanked me for getting many of the Flexradio problems fixed.

Remember always - The squeaking wheel gets the grease. Go along with everybody else and ignore faults and you get what you deserve.

Thanks James,

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: N0YXB on June 06, 2012, 12:11:35 PM
I for one, value your opinions Stan and am glad you have posted your experiences here. It is appreciated.
james
WD5GWY
 

Ditto, I have learned a lot from Stan, Gene, and Brian (but haven't seen any posts from him in a while). 


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: K9IUQ on June 06, 2012, 03:25:01 PM

Ditto, I have learned a lot from Stan, Gene, and Brian (but haven't seen any posts from him in a while). 

I miss Brian, his views are very different from mine, but he is articulate, intelligent and interesting. Mostly I loved arguing with him. Rarely did he call me names, and when he did I just laughed.

Stan K9IUQ


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: VE3WGO on June 09, 2012, 02:13:25 PM
The Flex-6000 looks like a great architecture.  Digital Downconversion Receiver, Digital Upconversion Transmitter, GPS-disciplined LO, all-DSP audio.  It's going to be a fine performer.  One thing - it's using 16 bit words to process, and that is 90 dB dynamic range (throw away LSB. if not, it's 93 dB, but LSB is noise) - it's very good but not fabulous. 

What will it do better than current generation of Flex radios, or other high end fast DSP transceivers?  It's getting harder and harder to tell, though.  Same almost blank front panel though, and that's a shame....

My hope is that some future "Flex 7000" will join the ranks of "knob radios" and will have an optional control panel with knobs.  The smooth front panel looks cool, and using a PC gives the ham nice graphical interface, but it is very lacking in user control and quick, accurate adjustment.  An on-screen mouse clickable slider or thumbwheel is far less than ideal compared to a rotary knob.  Today's best "knobby" radios have scrollable menus, programmable knobs, detents, and all sorts of advanced and specialized tactile and visual feedback mechanisms to make the radio's settings fully programmable and easily adjusted.

Knobs are not old fashioned.  Unless you think humans are old-fashioned - well, I suppose we are actually, having been designed either a billion or at least a few thousand years ago, depending on which Book you believe in.

It's because rotary adjustment is what our forearms were actually designed for - our best hand/arm fine motor skill is rotary control  That's why we have rotary controls and wheels for for critical tasks like steering our vehicles, turning door knobs, key locks, and tuning dials, where we need accuracy and dexterity, as well as tactile feedback (feeling in our fingers).  And that's why the knob-festooned front panels of ham radios continue to be popular. 

So building an SDR is ok, but it need not make the front panel devoid of user control knobs.  There is no sensible connection between these two attributes.  So c'mon Flex... knobs.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on June 09, 2012, 03:25:56 PM
The Flex-6000 looks like a great architecture.  Digital Downconversion Receiver, Digital Upconversion Transmitter, GPS-disciplined LO, all-DSP audio.  It's going to be a fine performer.  One thing - it's using 16 bit words to process, and that is 90 dB dynamic range (throw away LSB. if not, it's 93 dB, but LSB is noise) - it's very good but not fabulous.

You really need to educate yourself on SDR architectures.   Look up process (or processing) gain and you will see that you are completely wrong about the 90 dB dynamic range.  You have failed to take decimation into account.  It will achieve at least 30 dB better than that (~120 dB or so).

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: VE3WGO on June 09, 2012, 08:29:42 PM
Gene, perhaps my point wasn't clear.  So rather than educate myself further, I will explain the problem differently. It's real.  I wasn't referring to Rx ADC sample rate. No, I was referring to ADC sample width, which is 16 bits (according to Flex's 6000 specsheet).  I was therefore calculating full scale range of the ADC.  16 bits gives 93 dB.  You can try to actually make use of the LSB with dither techniques.  A DSP can make full use of that 93 dB, but you can't invent any more bits. 

Oversampling can improve noise and quantization errors. But if an interferer clips the ADC at full scale, the desired signal is impaired.  So the ADC full scale range is a critical parameter.  AGC is the only way to deal with it if the interferer is luckily placed outside of an RF roofing filter's passband, and that needs to be a pre-ADC roofing filter.  Close-in interferers that clip the ADC are destructive.  Alternatively, the interferer can be dealt with in front of the ADC with some form of active canceller, and that interference cancelling technology will be the new secret sauce.  Flex say they are doing direct sampling for digital downconversion, and they are designing it to include the 144 MHz band, and their sample rate will be 245.76 Msps, which means they will also need to filter out aliases mirrored around Fs/2. And this sample rate also shows that they aren't oversampling to try to get more effective bits for higher SNR. 

So, 93 dB is all they'll get with their 16 bit converter.


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on June 10, 2012, 06:09:11 AM
Gene, perhaps my point wasn't clear.  So rather than educate myself further, I will explain the problem differently. It's real.  I wasn't referring to Rx ADC sample rate. No, I was referring to ADC sample width, which is 16 bits (according to Flex's 6000 specsheet).  I was therefore calculating full scale range of the ADC.  16 bits gives 93 dB.  You can try to actually make use of the LSB with dither techniques.  A DSP can make full use of that 93 dB, but you can't invent any more bits.  

Oversampling can improve noise and quantization errors. But if an interferer clips the ADC at full scale, the desired signal is impaired.  So the ADC full scale range is a critical parameter.  AGC is the only way to deal with it if the interferer is luckily placed outside of an RF roofing filter's passband, and that needs to be a pre-ADC roofing filter.  Close-in interferers that clip the ADC are destructive.  Alternatively, the interferer can be dealt with in front of the ADC with some form of active canceller, and that interference cancelling technology will be the new secret sauce.  Flex say they are doing direct sampling for digital downconversion, and they are designing it to include the 144 MHz band, and their sample rate will be 245.76 Msps, which means they will also need to filter out aliases mirrored around Fs/2. And this sample rate also shows that they aren't oversampling to try to get more effective bits for higher SNR.  

So, 93 dB is all they'll get with their 16 bit converter.

Like I said, you need some serious education.  I am tired of going through this time and time again with guys who refuse to do so.  ::)  ::) ::) Maybe someone else in this forum will have the energy to do so.  You are talking about roofing filters as if it were a QSD type SDR, which direct sampling SDRs do not have... Sigh...  No one calculates dynamic range from the number of ADC bits because it means nothing.  High speed ADCs have a SFDR rating and a dBFs noise floor rating which are the important parameters.  The ADC clipping level can be placed where you like by amplification or attenuation.

And whether the ADC is oversampling or undersampling, it is the bandwidth reduction (decimation) in the following DDC that mostly determines the dynamic range of the receiver.  Like I said before, read up on processing gain as the result of decimation.

process gain = 10 * log10 ( Fs/ 2 * Ff ), where Fs is the 245.76 MSPS sampling rate and Ff is the final output sample rate.  

Just think about what you are implying for a minute.  If your 245.76 MSPS ADC clips at 0 dBm (almost S9+80!) then from your calculation of the ADC's 90 dB (or so) dynamic range, you're telling me you won't be able to hear signals below -90 dBm (about S6) when the DDC decimates the signal down to less that 100 kSPS?   :D  Read up!

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: VE3WGO on June 10, 2012, 08:38:46 AM
Of course roofing filters will be needed.  Did you invent some new technology that the rest of the world missed?

In the Flex 6000 architecture, ADC at at 245.76 Msps means Fs/2 is 122.88 MHz, so their two receive bands: 30 kHz-77 MHz falls into the 1st Nyquist zone, and 136-165 MHz falls into the 2nd Nyquist zone. 

The 30 kHz -77 MHz range will have an alias at 168.76-245.73 MHz.  It will need to be filtered out before the ADC to avoid corrupting sampled RF of the .03-77 MHz signals.  In fact, there would be aliases or image responses at every +/- n*FS/2 up to the maximum response of the RF front end, so they will use a LPF no doubt to reject everything above 77 MHz for the low band.  For the 135-165 band, aliases will be at 110.76-80.76 MHz, which unfortunately is the FM broadcast band, so let's see how well they handle that one with good filtering.  I'm guessing a good BRF ahead of any amplification for IMD, but also deep rejection ahead of the ADC to make sure FM band aliases are not going to fold into 2 meter sampled signals.

Don't ever again try to convince me or anyone else that pre-ADC anti-aliasing filters won't be needed.  Call them what you like, but they are in fact roofing filters, which is what RF front end designers need to define the RF bandwidth of the stages ahead of sampling or mixing and highly selective stages, be they analog, digital or whatever.  If you think I still need an education, go read up on sampling theory before you start pointing any more jabs at me please.

I've only ever known decimation and process gain to apply to noise limited systems, such as CDMA (IS-95 etc) or DSSS (spread spectrum systems, including old WiFi 802.11b) which an HF receiver is surely not.  An HF receiver is interference limited.

Let's see what dynamic range Flex eventually claims with 16 bits.   Their spec sheet currently says "TBD"

FWIW, Flex 5000 uses 24 bit low IF sampling rate ADCs, which allows their receivers to have dynamic range limited by RF front end performance rather than the ADC.

Ed


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: NI0Z on June 10, 2012, 10:09:26 AM
Say the specs and speculation turns out to be real, the question I have at that point is this.  How many people are going to have a shack and antenna system that is really going to be able to leverage those specs?


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on June 10, 2012, 02:04:05 PM
Of course roofing filters will be needed.  Did you invent some new technology that the rest of the world missed?

In the Flex 6000 architecture, ADC at at 245.76 Msps means Fs/2 is 122.88 MHz, so their two receive bands: 30 kHz-77 MHz falls into the 1st Nyquist zone, and 136-165 MHz falls into the 2nd Nyquist zone.  

The 30 kHz -77 MHz range will have an alias at 168.76-245.73 MHz.  It will need to be filtered out before the ADC to avoid corrupting sampled RF of the .03-77 MHz signals.  In fact, there would be aliases or image responses at every +/- n*FS/2 up to the maximum response of the RF front end, so they will use a LPF no doubt to reject everything above 77 MHz for the low band.  For the 135-165 band, aliases will be at 110.76-80.76 MHz, which unfortunately is the FM broadcast band, so let's see how well they handle that one with good filtering.  I'm guessing a good BRF ahead of any amplification for IMD, but also deep rejection ahead of the ADC to make sure FM band aliases are not going to fold into 2 meter sampled signals.

Don't ever again try to convince me or anyone else that pre-ADC anti-aliasing filters won't be needed.  Call them what you like, but they are in fact roofing filters, which is what RF front end designers need to define the RF bandwidth of the stages ahead of sampling or mixing and highly selective stages, be they analog, digital or whatever.  If you think I still need an education, go read up on sampling theory before you start pointing any more jabs at me please.

I've only ever known decimation and process gain to apply to noise limited systems, such as CDMA (IS-95 etc) or DSSS (spread spectrum systems, including old WiFi 802.11b) which an HF receiver is surely not.  An HF receiver is interference limited.

Let's see what dynamic range Flex eventually claims with 16 bits.   Their spec sheet currently says "TBD"

FWIW, Flex 5000 uses 24 bit low IF sampling rate ADCs, which allows their receivers to have dynamic range limited by RF front end performance rather than the ADC.

Ed

Not only are you are lacking in the understanding of signal processing techniques, you also seem to be lacking the correct signal processing terminology. You seem to have problems with reading too.  Anti-alias filters are referred to as anti-alias filters, not "roofing filters".  The term "roofing filter" is used primarily in Ham radio circles and in ANALOG front end design for the filter that is generally found after the first analog mixer, not by professionals in the signal processing field and not related to a direct sampling receiver.  No where did I say that anti-alias filters were not required in a direct sampling receiver, so quit trying to twist the conversation into something I did not say.

You have not answered the question: If your 245.76 MSPS ADC clips at 0 dBm (almost S9+80!) then from your calculation of the ADC's 90 dB (or so) dynamic range, you're telling me you won't be able to hear signals below -90 dBm (about S6) when the DDC decimates the signal down to less that 100 kSPS?

Gene
 



Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on June 11, 2012, 03:52:30 AM
VE3WGO, here is an example to help you understand your erroneous thinking.

Let's say I take a high speed 16 bit ADC and run it at 100 MSPS.  The spec sheet shows it has a noise floor of -75 dBfs (dB below full scale) @ 100 MSPS.  I use a clean low phase noise 100 MHz clock to clock the ADC.   We have a FPGA connected to the 16 bit ADC's bus and the speed of the FPGA is sufficient that it can be clocked at 100 MHz like the ADC.  In the FPGA we have RAM that can store a block of continuous 16 bit samples from the ADC.  The ADC has a full scale (clipping) limit of 0 dBm (which is about S9+80).  After capturing a block of 16 bit samples from the ADC into the RAM in the FPGA, we transfer the block of samples to a PC where we do a FFT on it.  We find that the noise floor is about -75 dBm and signals below that cannot be resolved (without filtering).  The noise floor is NOT -90 dBm or so as you would expect by your estimation of the ADC's 90 dB or so dynamic range.  That is because high speed 16 bit ADCs currently on the market has ENOBs (effective number of bits) in the 12 to 13 bit range, thus the noise floor rating of -75 dBfs (dB below full scale).  The current 16 bit ADCs are coming up against limits imposed by physics and will not improve very much in the future.  (Of course, you could immerse your ADC into liquid nitrogen to improve this somewhat).  So the bottom line in this case is that at 100 MSPS, your upper limit is S9+80 and your lower limit sensitivity is about S9.

Now, using the same ADC and FPGA arrangement above, let's decimate and filter the samples so that we decrease the sample rate to 100 kSPS from the 100 MSPS rate (a decimation of 1000).  Let's store the samples in the FPGA RAM as before, but because of bit growth in our filters, we must now store the samples as 24 bit samples, not 16 bit samples.  We transfer a block of those 24 bit samples to our PC and do a FFT on it.  We now find that the noise floor is now about -104 dBm.  That is significantly better than the 90 dB or so dynamic range that a 16 bit ADC would indicate!  Our upper limit is still 0 dBm or S9+80, but our bottom limit to sensitivity is now around -104 dBm or around S4.  This is the result of decimation and filtering (bandwidth reduction).  Because of our decimation by 1000 we have gained 27 dB in dynamic range by the formula process gain = 10 * log10( 100MSPS/ 2 * 100kSPS) = 26.99 dB.  So the -75 dBFs of our 16 bit ADC is decreased to -(75 + 27) = -104 dBfs.  Process gain comes from the fact that the noise in the 100 MSPS ADC is spread out over the whole Fs/2 bandwidth and when we decimate/filter we bandwidth limit that noise to some smaller bandwidth (100 kSPS/2 in this example).  Decimation of more than 1000 will decrease our noise floor and sensitivity even further.  Run the numbers for a 500 Hz bandwidth and see.

That is how modern direct sampling SDRs that use 14 and 16 bit high speed ADCs are able to achieve much more dynamic range than what 14 or 16 bits would indicate taking your simplistic understanding of digital signal processing.

Anyone that actually owns a SDR, such as the Flex-5000, can see this real effect in the spectrum display.  In PowerSDR, for example, switching between sample rates of 48, 96, and 192 kHz causes the noise floor to increase in the panadapter as you increase the sampling rate.  Also, in PowerSDR, when the filters are narrowed from 3 kHz to 500 Hz, you can see that the indicated noise floor on the PowerSDR S meter decrease.  The S meter in PowerSDR shows the power within the filter, where the panadapter in spectrum view shows the power (actually power spectrum) before the filter.  That is why they are different.

Gene


Title: RE: Flex Site: "Imagine a transceiver that changes Ham Radio - Forever.."
Post by: KE5JPP on June 11, 2012, 05:11:58 AM
Typo warning: -75 dBfs should have been -77 dBfs above, but the idea is still the same.

Gene